BY SHERI TRUSTY
Patti Wandover’s successful soap business has moved and expanded in the Village of Marblehead — and is expanding some more — as Marblehead Soap Company is about to make its mark on the world. Four of the company’s products will soon be introduced on the international market.
“Our deodorant, Botox bar, lip balm and Lake Erie Beach Glass Soap are going to launch nationally and internationally,” Wandover said.
The expansion of her product line is a result of the expansion of her business, which moved to a new downtown location in March after Wandover purchased seven downtown buildings that were once owned by famed artist Ben Richmond. An upper floor where Richmond painted and framed his paintings of lake life will soon become an artist studio where local creators will sell their work.
Wandover’s new location at 417 W. Main St. in Marblehead offers 10,000-square-feet of space, providing plenty of room to display the handcrafted organic soaps and other products that made her a success. Hundreds of bars of soap, plus lotions, essential oils, candles, canned goods, art and gifts line the shelves. Among them is the honey that her family has been producing for over 60 years.
She currently keeps 83 hives for her business, the Lake Erie Honey Company.
“It’s been a very good spring crop this year. We haven’t pulled fall yet,” Wandover said.
Spring honey is light from the spring flowers visited by the bees, while fall honey reflects the asters and goldenrods of autumn.
“Think of the spring flowers, like the apple blossoms, and how delicate they smell. That’s how light the honey is,” Wandover said. “The darker the pollen, the darker the honey. I can walk by the hives now, and I can smell it. It smells like fall.”
After years of struggle, the future of the bee population is looking hopeful but is not out of danger yet. Wandover said the Ohio bee report is seeing an increased resistance to the Varroa mite, an external parasite that feeds on live bees, larvae and pupae.
“After the fall pull, we’ll treat our bees for wintering over,” she said. “I think they’re a little more resistant this year, a little healthier.”
Now that she has more space for her business, Wandover will soon offer soap making classes. Her first class, for a private group, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 12. Public classes will soon follow. Updated information can be found at www.marbleheadsoap.co or by calling 419-702-7488.
Thanks to the help of a Shores & Islands Ohio Destination Development Grant, one of the seven buildings will be transformed into a hot dog and soup shop called “Hot Dogs to Go.” The Marblehead Soap Company is located across from the Kelleys Island Ferry dock, so the shop will offer a fast meal for travelers and locals.
“This is something the downtown lacks – something quick,” Wandover said. “We hope to open in the spring of 2024.”